Stephen Cambone

Undersecretary for Intelligence
Defense Department

The Pentagon's intelligence czar. A trusted aide and protégé of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Bristly, even arrogant. Part of a cabal running U.S. policy.

These are some of the descriptions of Stephen Cambone, Defense undersecretary for intelligence, in major newspapers and magazines over the past year. In a July 2003 article, Time magazine also reported that Cambone was fingered as the man in charge of finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

A powerful and influential presence in intelligence and defense circles, Cambone is little known outside. Before assuming his current position in March 2003, he was the deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy and later was the Pentagon's director of program analysis and evaluation.

The primary role of undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, a newly created position, is to provide oversight and policy guidance for all Defense Department intelligence activities and to ensure that military commanders in the field have timely access to intelligence information. Cambone also oversees the Defense Intelligence Agency, space programs, as well as other defense intelligence assets, and he works closely with CIA Director George Tenet.

When the Pentagon announced Cambone's appointment in December 2002, speculation was rife that Rumsfeld was grabbing power from the CIA-a charge that Rumsfeld and Cambone have denied. The CIA director and the secretary of Defense have often jostled over control of the nation's spy corps. At his nomination hearing, Cambone stressed that he would not be managing the collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence, and that he would not be horning in on the CIA.

Cambone is Rumsfeld's firefighter-the man Rumsfeld puts on the hot jobs, according to Pentagon insiders. Cambone served as staff director of the 1998 Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States and the 2000 Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, both chaired by Rumsfeld. Cambone has closer contact with Rumsfeld than any other official does, according to an article by Seymour M. Hersh in the December 15, 2003, issue of The New Yorker. Hersh also reported that Cambone has sought operational authority over the Special Forces.

Cambone has a bachelor's degree in political science from Catholic University in Washington and received his master's and doctorate in political science from Claremont Graduate University in California.

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